Ridiculous meet cutes, emotional entanglements, and happy ever afters aside, holiday rom coms are a seasonal cinematic reminder that for all its complications and charm, love actually is all around.
More often than not, romantic comedies are not taken as seriously as its more dramatic or art house counterparts in the grand scale of the cinema. While greatly appreciated to a certain degree, not a lot will openly admit to a liking to the specific facet of the comedic genre that is predisposed to an extra suspension of disbelief with formulaic engineering of meet-cutes, emotional entanglements, and happy ever afters. Instead, it is filed as a guilty pleasure, one that you go-to when you’ve run out of thing to binge on Netflix, when you’re in a rut of feelings, or when you need a little dose of cheering up. Even the most jaded and cynical will be no match to the peppy and sunshiny disposition of especially good rom coms, because trust me, there are really questionable ones—but even that I will most likely have watched and thoroughly enjoyed as the hopeless, hopeful romantic that I am.
It is too good to be true, yes. But even in its most absurd and most clichéd tropes, strange and serendipitous rom coms are a unique study into the complexities of romantic relationships. While many have tried and tried to make sense of it in both the educational and emotional sense, the slices of life that are fleshed out in the charm of a Nora Ephron production or the sardonic leanings of British humor work simply because it heroes love. I know, eye roll, but at the end of the day, wherever your barometer tips in the scale of romance, we crave for love—the unapologetic, the unequalled, and unequivocal kind that literature has long worked to thoroughly define.
You see, it isn’t anything less than other cinematic genres. Sure, it can sometimes be too self aware, overly saccharine, or a ridiculous oversimplification of romance and relationships, but even the most agonizing of these fairy tales will warm the icy cockles of your heart, whether you will want to admit or not. It will catch you off guard, where the stories are most likely too close to home or too real that you relent to the feeling and just run away with it—even if it is in the middle of the Christmas rush or iciness of winter. As it is signature to rom coms, the universal language it speaks can turn even the most doubtful into a believer, especially during the holidays.
There is just something about the pervasive spirit of joy, abundance of hope, and persistence of love that gives you the warm and fuzzy feeling. With the usual war-grade defenses lowered, as well as of the typical cool seasonal breeze that makes it even more Christmas-y, the only thing you will want to do amid the flurry of festivities and feelings is to bundle up in the corner of your bed and watch holiday rom coms. And in concurrence with what Hugh Grant says in the overture of Love Actually, “I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
Here we list 10 of the essential holiday rom coms you should watch over the holidays or even beyond—we’re not one to judge.
While You Were Sleeping
You’ve Got Mail
Bridget Jones’s Diary
When Harry Met Sally